In this episode I am very excited to bring an interview with both Tim Whitmire (aka OBT) and Dave Redding (aka Dredd) who are the founders of F3 Nation.
There are already numerous interviews out there where OBT and Dredd give the story about how they founded F3 Nation. We wanted to make sure we got the most out of the time we had with them so we focus on how they got involved with GORUCK, their custom GrowRuck GORUCK events, and how their first GORUCK experiences turned out.
It was great spending time with these two at the F3 Custom GrowRuck GORUCK Tough 004 in Seattle and they truly put out a ton of effort at their events. If you’re curious about F3 Nation or are a member then hopefully you get something good out of this!
- GORUCK & Rucking Glossary
- Charity Challenges Flutter Kick Challenge
- F3 Nation
- F3 Nation Dictionary (Lexicon)
- All Day Ruckoff Facebook Reviews
- F3 Map
- F3 Nation Twitter
- F3 Rucking Twitter
- Custom GORUCK Events
- Chattanooga GrowRuck Event
- Email for Discount
- Request F3 Workout
- PATHFINDER Ruck Training Program (Current Discount Code: 014ADR for 20% off)
- GrowRuck Twitter
- The Iron Project
Thanks so much for listening! If you missed any of our earlier episodes you can give them a listen right now. Hopefully you enjoyed the podcast and are excited about the next one. This is very new to us so we would appreciate it if you would cut us some slack as we work on perfecting our methodologies. Did you enjoy the podcast? We’d love a review on iTunes or even our Facebook Page! Didn’t enjoy it? Leave a comment here in the show notes and let us know what we can do better!
Brian: I’m here talking with OBT and Dredd who are the founders of F3. I’m very excited that these two guys have taken time out of their day to chat with me and I can’t wait for you guys to hear what they have to say. OBT and Dredd, how are you two doing today?
OBT: We’re doing well. We’re going to teach some people this morning, so that’s always fun.
Dredd: Yup, having a great day.
Brian: Excellent. I can’t argue with that. Before we get going with your experiences with GORUCK, can we set the stage for the listeners who are tuning in who have never heard of F3 before, who this might be a new concept to them. In your own words, what is F3?
Dredd: F3 is a network of men’s small workout groups and it’s no fee, whatsoever. There is really no agenda whatsoever other than to come together and workout in the morning with the hope of solving three problems that exist in a man’s life, and the first one is inconsistent fitness. The second one is lack of deep lasting male friendships, and the third one is lack of purpose. We call it F3 because we believe what this workout group does is attack those three problems. The first half is fitness, obviously. The second half is fellowship, and that’s making friends, and the third F is faith, which we just defined as a belief in something outside of yourself. That’s really the long and the short of it.
OBT: I’ll jump in there — This is OBT, and just give a little more background on kind of the history. This is something that Dave and I started back on January 1st, 2011 with one workout here in Charlotte, North Caroline, which is where we both live and it kind of grew from there and it’s turned into this really volunteer-led organization. We often say a good organization has leaders. A great organization is composed entirely of leaders, and we happen to tap into a mother lode of leaders in F3 who basically threw their own volunteer efforts, have spread this thing, really, across the country. Actually, all the way out to where you are, Brian, in the Puget Sound area and we’ve now got more than 1,100 weekly workouts scheduled in 21 different states, from here to California and Washington and just launched this past weekend in Chicago actually, and we’ll also be going into St. Louis and Austin, Texas this fall.
OBT: Thank you.
Brian: That’s incredible expansion and I think it just drives home the point of how special this is to a lot of people who get to take part in the training and the boot camp style events.
When I introduced OBT and Dredd, you might have guessed that’s not their real names. When you show up to an F3 workout you’re considered an FNG, and at the end of the generally your first workout you’re given a nickname. We’ve got OBT and Dredd here. Do you two want to elaborate on where you got your nicknames from?
Dredd: Actually, Dredd is my real name. My name is Dave Redding and I’m an attorney in my real life, so when I showed up at that workout they combined Dave and Redding and got Dredd. Originally, I was Judge Dredd, like the movie, but after a couple of weeks chopped the judge because I don’t have a judicial temperament.
Brian: Very nice. Dredd is quite the nickname for F3. Generally, the nicknames are pretty humorous, but when you hear Dredd, it’s kind of ominous.
Dredd: Yeah. It doesn’t dread to see me. It just means —
OBT: The corps guys thought it did.
Dredd: There actually are some people that think that. I guess it’s whatever you think it means.
OBT: Some of our guys gave him a monogram towel recently that had his nickname on it. This is to celebrate the 5th anniversary of their workout and they spelled his name Dread on a towel, which everybody got kicked out off.
Dredd: It’s true. Some people thought that.
Brian: That’s awesome. That is hilarious. You guys had a great job explaining what F3 is. You’re on the All Day Ruckoff Podcast right now, which is a podcast about rucking and we both know that F3 is not a dedicated rucking club. It does a lot of things. What would you say the typical F3 workout is like or what would you say that F3 gets at with its workouts?
Dredd: Yeah. I mean that’s a question that we get asked a lot, because I think people look at F3 and they say the first half is fitness. You’re a fitness group and they’re thinking cross-fit or something like that, and we don’t actually promulgate any particular workout routine or anything. We have ideas, but mainly at F3 we act more as a platform to trade other people’s ideas. When we read about some guys in Wilmington, North Carolina doing something good, not only do we want to thrive, we want other guys to thrive too. That’s more of an exchange of ideas.
Yeah, we do a lot of boot camps and I think we do a lot of boot camps, because they’re cheap and easy and fast, right? You don’t need any equipment. In 45 minutes you can get smoked and you can do it in a Walmart parking lot. That doesn’t mean we’re boot campers either. Really, what we’re trying to do is get the best possible workout under the condition that you have available and to try to do that every day that you feel like that you can’t.
That’s why for us, rucking, and what we call ruckership, really is a great extension of what we’re doing, because while there’s probably guys in F3 — A lot of guys say, “Well, I’ve never put on a ruck. I don’t see the point of it. It sounds like a military thing,” or “I don’t like it. It’s too slow.” All the guys that like to ruck all the time and they say, “Boot camps to me aren’t very much fun and I never run and I think it’s bad for you.” Who knows whether or not either one of those things are true? We are not exercise physiologists or experts. What we’re really aiming at is invigoration male leadership and along the way try to get guys to get as much fellowship as they possibly can, which is why for us, rucking is a natural extension of what we’re doing, because it puts guys together for at least 45 minutes or an hour to go five miles and gives them an opportunity to get their bodies moving, their hearts pumping harder and maybe more importantly it really gives them the opportunity to talk.
The workouts in Charlotte, at least, and I was in Wilmington yesterday, and it was crazy hard as well, are getting so difficult that I don’t care how good a shape you’re in and how good a mumble chatter you are, it’s difficult to talk. You lose a little bit of the fellowship that way. A good 45-minute workout, you come back, nobody said a word. All we do was pant. That’s fine, but I kind of miss it, the chance to talk.
When I was in the army, when we rucked, that was part of what we did when we train, just rucking. We’d put on a ruck on and get out there and talk things out. For some reason when you’re walking side by side with a man, it’s much easier to open up to them than it is if you’re sitting across a desk face to face. Who knows why? But that’s really true.
That’s for us why ruckership and rucking has been such a great thing why we consider ourselves, OBT and I, kind of at the center or the tent pole of the big tent of F3, why we advocate on its behalf and why we’re really happy that it’s with us.
Now, that puts us open to the accusation which we hear from time to time, “Well, you guys are just trying to be all things to all people,” and Tim and I always laugh and say, “Is that an insult or a compliment? Yes, we’re trying to be all things, really, to all men, all things positive.” If it works, we don’t care why. We just want to know how to do it so we can do more of it. If it doesn’t work, we’re like, “Don’t do that anymore.” Quite frankly, at its most basic, rucking works. It’s good for your body. It’s good for your heart. It’s good for your soul, and it’s good for F3. We’re a huge believers in it.
Brian: That’s awesome. I love that word ruckership. Today is actually the first time I’ve heard that and it was on the F3 Nation Twitter account. I like that.
Dredd: Whoever that F3 Nation Twitter guy is, he comes up with some good stuff. When we saw ruckership we were like, “Wow! That’s a good idea,” because it obviously combines fellowship and rucking. At least when I — And I heard Jason McCarthy, the GORUCK founder, on the Podcast giving just a great impassioned argument for why rucking was actually a great fitness tool. I remember thinking, “Man! He’s really kind of just captured that idea of what I just thought in a much better way than I just did.” It really is true, man. It’s a fellowship of rucking, so it’s ruckership. Perfect for F3.
Brian: It’s perfect, and it’s nice that rucking follows the rules of an F3 workout, which I don’t believe we’ve touched on yet. Would you mind going over the rules for the F3 workouts?
OBT: Sure. The rules of an F3 workout, and there are only five of them. It has to be free, it has to be open to all men, it has to take place at a publicly accessible location, preferably outdoors. It needs to be led by participants on a rotating basis and with no precertification required. Basically, what’s that saying is if your plan is to come out there with a clipboard and tell other people what to do and you run the workout every week, F3 is probably not for you. Then the fifth and final requirement is it ends with something that we call a circle of trust, and that’s where you’ve seen it in action, but when we sit around on a circle and we a count of the number of guys who are there that day and we’d go around and we see our names and our ages and our F3 nicknames and we have some announcements and then we usually close with what in some parts of the country is a prayer and other parts of the country is just kind of words of wisdom or sort of thoughts for the day. Those are the only five rules for an F3 workout. If you want to go play pickup basketball at your local basketball courts for 45 minutes to an hour and with a circle of trust, then that is an F3 workout and we are welcome to include you in our midst.
Dredd: Well said, OBT.
OBT: Thank you.
Brian: Very well said. Shifting form the F3 workouts slightly into the realm of GORUCK and rucking, how were you two introduced to GORUCK?
Dredd: Well, a few years ago. Really, right at the start of this when we are building the group up, we started doing things like mud runs and Spartan runs, Spartan races and they were great, because guys got really energized. It didn’t have the regularity as just a workout does. It was outside the normal bandwidth of things we were doing. Guys, look, they’re great recruiting tools. We’re looking around for something else to do and I think OBT stumbled into GORUCK somehow. This is 2012. He said, “Hey! This will be a great thing for us to do.” I looked at it and this is early on, so there wasn’t anything on the internet about it that we could really figure out really what it was.
We bought go rucks and fill them full of bricks and we thought the best way to train for GORUCK was to practice running with the go ruck on, or the ruck sack on. We actually did six-mile runs with these things on, which are probably not very good with your knees and got to the point where we’re pretty good at running with ruck sack on. Of course, five minutes into the first one we did. In summer of 2012 we realized that there really wasn’t much else you could do that was of less value to being ready to do a GORUCK, then running with a ruck is one of the one things you won’t do.
We made a mistake there, but we still love the event. We had about 30 guys the first time we did it. It was the hottest day of the year of 2012 and it’d beat us down like crazy, but you still, to this day, we see guys that participated in that first one with us and we laugh about it and talk about it. It just strengthened the bonds between our original set of guys and we realized really right from the start that it was something that was very helpful to F3 and something that we would like to partner up with GORUCK on.
OBT: I’ll add to that. Just to say, actually, I can’t take any credit for it. It was another one of our guys who’s involved in F3 from very early on named Trip Davis who really was the guy who knew about GORUCK and what Jason was doing and kind of the events to sort of demonstrate how tough the rucks were. He was the one who was like, “Man! We got to do one of these,” and we looked at it and we were like, “Yeah, we can probably get 30 guys. We can do a custom class.” I think that was the other thing was, that that first one was all F3 guys in the class and we all kind of did it together. I can still pick out moments from that. First of all, we still talk about how I was the one who planted the flag in some uncertain ground and only to see the flag fall over and got us all punished by and hour’s worth of jock web, so everybody likes to hold that over my head.
There were other guys who really — Brian, you’ve probably seen this in everyone you’ve done. I know I have, where you get down there, two, three in the morning and guys are hitting bottom and that’s where you really see real character come out in some people and you see the guys who are — There’s always going to be some guys who might go, “Great man.” But then there’s some guys who really step up in that situation and we certainly had that happen with some guys that night where we were like, “Wow! We had no idea you were that kind of leader.” That really kind of made it a special event, because the reality behind F3 is it looks like a workout, but it’s really a leadership academy. Guys come in and they get an opportunity to get in shape and develop this group of friends and almost inevitably guys turns into leaders in that context. Part of the whole F3 ethos is if we show up for a few weeks we’re going to ask you to lead a workout yourself. What they do during the GORUCK event just turned out to just perfectly dovetail with what we were doing as well.
Brian: That’s awesome. I think you see that at almost every event, and it’s really cool to see the leadership from participants pulling people out of the gray man role, when you see people start to internalize the pain and kind of gloss over. There’s a great leadership opportunity to bring them back and get them back in the fight. I definitely see the correlations between F3 and GORUCK.
Your first GORUCK event was a custom. That’s pretty awesome, because especially back in 2012, very little information out there about GORUCK, how to train for it and what even happens half the event, the fact that you could pull together 30 guys for a custom event is pretty amazing.
OBT: I actually think they were a little taken on the back by us, I think, because we showed up — What I remember from that night was Dredd has a background in the military. He was a Ranger, so he spent several years in Special Forces. He had sort of prepped us for this whole thing and kind of given us a few ideas about what the cadre was going to do and kind of be prepared for kind of shock and odd techniques.
My memory is that they showed up, it was Patrick and a couple of other guys. They showed up and we were already lined up in formation and we were divided into squads with squad leaders who we had appointed. We were sort of ready to go. It took them maybe a couple of minutes to figure out what we had done and they immediately said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You guys are all fired. Now, we’re going to put different guys in charge.” Dredd, you shut up and go back in the line for the night.
Dredd: Yeah, they figured out in about 30 minutes who probably the most skilled leadership amongst us were from previous history of our lives and said, “You guys are all dead. You’re not leaving for the rest of the night.” It was interesting to me that they did that, and it turned out to be great. It’s exactly what we needed. We did try to lean forward in the fox hole a little bit and ahead of this thing. As you know, brother, you’re not going to do that on them. They’re going to stop you from doing that. That’s part of it. You can’t game it.
OBT: We’ve kind of carried that forward with the Grow Rucks that we do now where if you’ve done one of these before, you’re going to be kind of last in line to take any leadership role. We really want to put the guys, as Danny does them with us, as we rotate through various leadership roles. Let’s foucs on the guys who have not done this previously and put them in those roles and see how they do.
Brian: Yeah. I really like that from the Grow Ruck event that came to Seattle. This is an awesome segue to the next piece I want to talk about, which is the F3 Grow Ruck GORUCK events. As many of the listeners know, Cadre Danny Stokes was on a previous episode where he talked about his capital ruck tour. Danny has been the lead cadre for each Grow Ruck event and you too, OBT and Dredd, have been at every Grow Ruck event so far as well. Is that correct?
OBT: Yes, my wife will remind of that, but yes.
Dredd: Yes, we have.
Brian: That’s awesome. Grow Ruck is an entire weekend of events which kind of culminate in a custom GORUCK Tough. Where did the idea for Grow Ruck come from?
OBT: This gets into a little of F3 history. As F3 grew, we started doing what we call leap glance, and that means going to new cities that were more than a car ride away from where we could project. We’d put guys on planes and literally leap over the intervening territory where there was no F3 and plants a new F3 workout, somewhere like Nashville, Tennessee, or New Orleans, or in your case, out in Seattle. What we saw was as we kind of extended our range a little bit, some of those locations on the periphery of what we think of as F3 nation, they would tend to go through this cycle where they would grow initially for about 12 to 18 months and then it would hit a plateau. I call this kind of the pizza party phase, and that’s when you got a good group of guys out there. They’re all solid. They’re all really happy that they’ve found F3 and F3 has found them. The temptation is to sit in a circle after the workout and pat each other on the back and say, “Isn’t this great? Isn’t this wonderful? Let’s have a pizza party now. It’s perfect and it’s going to stay this way forever.” The reality is that is the day before I pull a hamstring and Dredd gets fired from his job and has to move to a new city and you go through a divorce and start hitting the bottle too hard and disappear from the workouts and all of a sudden the natural forces of life and entropy and everything pull it this perfect little thing that we had.
For that reason we try to teach guys that there is a growth requirements in F3. If you are not always head-locking new guys and trying to get new guys out to the workout, this thing will inevitably kind of wither and die and you just have to — We call it ABH, always be head-locking, always be bringing new guys out. We started once a quarter made this commitment to, “Let’s go down range to these different locations. Let’s talk to the guys at these workouts about this, about the need to grow.” We came up with a curriculum for it and Dave and I would fly in on a Friday and have some beers with the guys on Friday night and then lead a workout Saturday morning and then we would teach something that we call grow school for about two hours. Then for the first couple of times, that was it. Around noontime we’d wrap up and we’d get on a plane and we’d come back home.
After doing this two or three time we actually happen to be in New Orleans doing one when the 2000th GORUCK Touch Class came through. It was some sort of big GORUCK reunion. A bunch of classes actually came by us and we were finishing up the workout in City Park on Saturday morning as they were getting toward the end of their Tough challenges. We talked to a couple of cadre and introduced ourselves. I think it was after we got back home, we were talking about it and we’re like, “You know what? We got to do a GORUCK with this thing.” You’ve got this growth curriculum, but we don’t know of anything that is a better catalyst for growth among these F3 groups than getting them together to do a GORUCK Tough challenge. That’s an incredibly powerful experience to put these guys through and help them understand kind of leadership and all the stuff that we’re trying to teach.
That was kind of the origin of the idea, and we did the first one in Jacksonville, Florida last November and it’s really just a marriage of what we’re doing before and then adding a GORUCK challenge on to the end of it. We come in on Friday night and we get together and have a few beers. Lead the workout Saturday morning, teach for a couple of hours. We’d give the guys Saturday afternoon off to get their minds right as they say and maybe take a nap. Then about 6:00 on Saturday evening, it’s go time.
The other nice thing that we’ve been able to introduce with that is it’s a chance for guys in the region that we’re going to to really kind of personalize it to their region. Does somebody want to host a party at their house? Do we want to get together at a bar? Where do you want to do the event? What shows off your city or region bets? It really becomes kind of the ultimate F3 getaway weekend in some ways. With a substantial side dose of leadership training as well.
Brian: It’s got to be really fun for you guys too to fly out to these newer locations that you might not have been to as often and see what the F3 groups are doing there and what they’re grown into.
Dredd: Fun. It’s really fun. To us, it’s a shocking honor, I guess. The thing that got started here in 2011 that has just progressed to the point where it’s helping guys three, four thousand miles away to us is amazing. The fact that so many men have helped us do it, have joined us to try to move it along and progress it and help other men just never stops overwhelming us. For us, it’s very humbling experience. Fun, but humbling.
OBT: I would say it’s fun right until about the time the log hits the shoulder for the first time. Then it gets real.
Brian: Speaking of the log hitting the shoulder, in our Grow Ruck class we had quite the log in Seattle. For those who are listening, I’ll try and pull up pictures to put in the show notes. Every class says that they have a giant log that they carry. We had a giant log that we carried and it came down to three people carrying the log for, I believe, five or six city blocks and if we could accomplish that, we’re able to put the log down. One of the people who stepped up for this challenge was Dredd, and he, with two others, carried this giant log five or six city blocks. Can you briefly talk about the feelings that you’ve felt each step of the way?
Dredd: Beyond intense pain? Yes. That’s one of those — Part of the reason we do the GORUCk in the Grow Ruck is so that we can form the bond of trust with the men in the workouts that otherwise we really wouldn’t see them other than in the Twitterverse and whatnot. We don’t have that much time. We’re only there for 72 hours and we have to make the most of that. Because of that we want to get the bang for the buck. The GORUCK gives us a chance to build those bonds, the reliance between team members.
We thought about every once in a while, usually in the first few hours after we’re done with one of these things, “Hey! Maybe we don’t actually have to do the GORUCK.”
OBT: Next time we could be in the shadow crew.
Dredd: We could show up and tell them some war stories and encourage these guys. After the pain goes away a little bit, get a little bit of your energy back, you say — Okay, you realize it wouldn’t be the same. If we expect men that we’re meeting in these very short period of time to believe what we say that this works. That if you do hard things together, that builds durable bonds. We’ve got to do the hard things. We’ve got to do them too. That’s the backdrop of this idea.
That’s why, really, OBT and I and then we usually bring at least one or two other guys with us, Robber, comes with us from Columbia and then we usually have a guest or two that we bring along as well from an existing region. Our main thing is we’re not there to lead anybody. We’re there to get under the log. For guys that have done a GORUCK, they know what that means. Some percentage of the mileage has to be done under the log. That’s a basic of it, and that’s really the most painful part of this thing. If it’s an ungodly log, like this one was, it’s going to be ungodly time period.
What we do is we’re there to do the log time. Not to carry the flag. Not to carry any of those stuff, the sandbags or anything else, to get on to the log and to stay under the log so that the other men see that that is where you belong. That is how you help the team prevail. If nothing else, that’s what we’re going to do. We may not say a word but we’re going to be under the log a whole night.
In this particular occasion, Danny being Danny, he had us go a long way on that log and realized, I think, as a group we were doing a good job, but it was killing us and gave us that option, was you can keep going or have three guys carry this thing.
OBT: I think it was a wager with Robber.
Dredd: Oh, okay. Maybe he was. I didn’t hear all that, because I was too busy doing my log time. But I realized once that kind of cut through the fog that there was no way us going to not be a guy that at least held up his hands and said, “I’ll be the guy.”
Now, to be truthful, I’m only five for 10, which puts me on the lower side of the average guy out there.
OBT: Team shorty.
Dredd: Team shorty. I really thought when I raised my hand that, “It’s a pretty good bet that three guys were six feet tall are going to do this,” because you really want to have equality of size. That makes it a lot better, but not everybody volunteered, and then I kind of looked around, we were standing there and I said, “Oh my gosh!”
OBT: I think Brian, I think you and I were both there as willing volunteers, and so like Dredd, I think sort of hoping to get picked. It’s like, “I’m going to put my hand up, but I’m going to hope the teacher doesn’t call me.”
Dredd: Right. I knew I had to be that guy, at least put my hand up. That, to be fair, it wasn’t like I volunteered with the sure thing of having to do it. I volunteered with a good bet of not having to do it, but from a leadership standpoint I felt like I had to and so did Tim. Tim, OBT, raised his hand as well.
But as it worked out from a size standpoint, I was one of the guys. When we put that log on my shoulder, I realized I was either going to thrump on myself or start walking. I just chose the later because it would be less embarrassing. As we moved along an the guys started to cheer us on and the pain turned kind of more like a numbing thing, I kind of got caught up in it and before you know we were there.
OBT: Brian, you can post the video. I think it’s probably still out there on Facebook. Brian and I were among the people cheering loudly. Apparently, we woke up half the neighborhood.
Brian: Yeah, I’ll do my best to grab it and post it up there. It was quite the sight to see, and Dredd, you definitely hit what I was aiming at that it was incredibly inspiring to see both you and OBT raise your hands to step up for this. You guys flew in across the country, three-hour time difference, two days earlier. You’re not in your home territory. You’ve got that working against you. You’re out here, it was roughly three or four in the morning, something like that, which time change. It’s already 6 or 7 a.m. for you guys and here you are saying, “Yes, I’ll do it.” Dredd was chosen to get under that log and got right under there, pushed through and I know for myself seeing it, and I’m sure everyone else who is there, it was one of those — These guys are truly living what they’re saying. It’s not a bunch of talk. It’s not a bunch of text on a computer. These guys are living it and they truly believe it, so it was awesome. Thank you for doing that, because then we didn’t have to carry the log afterwards.
OBT: I said thank you as well.
Brian: From a very selfish standpoint.
Dredd: We’re honored to have that opportunity every quarter. I’m not sure we want to be honored more than that.
OBT: Yeah, it’s a nice quarterly honor.
Dredd: It’s a nice quarterly honor.
Brian: Just long enough to forget about the honor and how it felt.
OBT: It’s a little bit how magically about a year after you have that first child, you remember how horrible that first year was and then suddenly you have that amnesia and then you go and have a second child.
Dredd: That’s good. It’s good analogy.
Brian: Sounds about right. You mentioned quarterly. That’s about what it’s been right now. The first Grow Ruck was in Jacksonville, Florida, as you mentioned, November 2016. Your 5th Grow Ruck event will be coming up in Chattanooga, Tennessee I believe this coming November of 2017. You’re on track for quarterly Grow Ruck events around the country. Clearly, they’re working for the groups because you guys keep putting them out and the response is always amazing.
What is the future look like for Grow Ruck? Are you planning to keep it quarterly or expand it?
OBT: There’s a couple of things going on with this. One is we’re going to keep doing — Those are what we can consider, and this is a little bit of an insider lingo. Those are push GORUCKs, and that Dave and I along with Sean Rankin, Robber, out of Columbia, look at the F3 map and select locations where they’re kind of in that 12 to 18 months now where we think we can get a lot of bang for our buck.
For instance, Chattanooga, we’ve got a new F3 group there. We’ve got still relatively newer groups in Nashville, in Knoxville who we’re going to send guys to it. We’ve got a relatively new group in Alpharetta, Georgia that’s coming up for it and we got just a booming region up in North Eastern, Tennessee that’s sending a bunch of guys down for that. That’s a location where we can pull from several F3 regions and really go in and hopefully have a real impact in one weekend on a number of regions and give guys something to really kind of take home and some leadership lessons to really take back to their groups with them.
We’re going to continue doing those on a quarterly basis. We’re going to go to Ohio I think in March of 2018. It’s going to be the next one on the F3 push cycle. We had a huge bunch of launches last spring in Ohio including Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. Actually, Cleveland has been around for a while. We’ve had kind of a big spring in the Ohio River Valley. Louisville really took off as well. We’re going to pick a location in Ohio and kind of pull from all of those regions. Do something in the first quarter.
Then Q2 will be Texas, and we’re going to have a group we’re planting in Austin in the next few weeks. We’ve got a group in Houston that’s not just going to cover off the ball right now. Those guys got written up in People Magazine a couple of weeks ago for all the work there we’re doing on Hurricane Harvi recovery down there. We got a strong group in Dallas as well and San Antonio. Again, kind of pulling from a whole region.
Then the other thing we’re going to start doing is the feedback has been so strong from these things, particularly guys saying this is better than any leadership training course I’ve ever taken at my corporation, and I’ve been in the corporate world for 20 years. We’re going to start, and Dave and I aren’t going to do these ourselves, but we’re going to start offering the same curriculum and the same Grow Ruck format to existing F3 locations.
Actually, we’re going to do the same thing for FiA groups as well, except we’re going to do with a GORUCK Light challenge instead of a Tough challenge. That’s more the four to six hour format. One thing I wanted to do Brian, I’m going to read off the list of upcoming events here and the dates. For any of your listeners who are not part of F3 or FiA right now and want to come try one of these things out, we would love to welcome you, get you signed up and offer a $25 discount on the registration price. This is exclusively for All Day Ruckoff podcast listeners.
We got Chattanooga coming up, November 17th, 2017. We are going to do a FiA Grow Ruck in the midlands of South Carolina, which is kind of Columbia and surrounding areas. That’s on December 2nd of 2017. Then F3 in the midlands of South Carolina, so a tough challenge, that will be on January 27th, 2018. That’s been scheduled as well, and that’s an existing F3 workout group where they want to go ahead and do a Grow Ruck as well. I mentioned Ohio will be sometime in March. Texas will be, we think, late April. Hopefully before it gets too hot down where. The guys in Myrtle Beach are talking about hosting an F3 Grow Ruck the weekend of September 28th through 30th, 2018. One year from now. That’s what’s on the calendar right now, and we’ve got some other ideas in the hop or so.
I would just say if you are in interested, if you’re from outside of F3 and FiA and you’re interested in rucking one of these with us and learning more about what we’re about, just drop us an email. My email address, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, T-H-E-I-R-O-N-P-R-O-J-E-C-T.com. We’re happy to get you setup and get you a discount on the event.
Brian: Awesome. Thank you guys. That’s amazing. I’ll make sure to put the names of the events and a link to your email address in the show notes so that people can easily click that and send the email.
Brian: For those who are listening and know that I’ve done a lot of GORUCK events and that feeling that you get towards the end of the event, if it’s a GORUCK Tough, I think maybe 8 to 10 hours in, where your team is really jelling, you’re feeling good, you’re laughing with your team. You’re having a good time and you’re really bonding with your team, that’s the same sort of feeling I get at each F3 workout with the guys there. If you’re interested in an F3 workout and you’re wondering what it will be like, those are the kinds of people who show up to F3 are the people who you would meet at a GORUCk event and you’ll feel like you’re on the same team as them similar to a GORUCK event while your soul is crushed for an hour during a boot camp style workout.
Those are the upcoming F3 Grow Ruck events. F3 has done a number of custom events outside of Grow Ruck. I’ve heard of a heavy-heavy. Do you know how often F3 has custom events?
OBT: I would say about once every two months or so. There’s some group doing something and maybe even a little more often. Maybe more like kind of eight times a year. If you’re a leader of any kind in F3, you’re called the queue of something, and he is our queue of ruckership within F3 nation. He’s basically the kind of primarily liaison within F3 too to GORUCK and the guy who’s kind of working with all the different groups, to setup their GORUCK customs and come up with insane new ideas, like the heavy-heavy. Because, I got to tell you, somebody tried to talk me into doing just a plain heavy and I was like, “No, that’s good. I’m good with the tough.” The next year they came along with the heavy-heavy and I was like, “You guys clearly have something wrong with you.” Then we got a good clam digger from Columbia is a good friend of ours and works with us on these Grow Rucks. He went down in Wilmington and did that thing and I was just like, “I got a lot of respect for your brother, but I also think you’re crazy.”
Brian: Yeah, when they’re trying to pitch you the heavy-heavy, the single heavy doesn’t sound too bad anymore, does it?
Dredd: Yeah. I don’t know. When I’m going with 12 hours, I’m smoked.
OBT: I’ve had enough.
Dredd: Unless 24 hours is not a repetition of the first 12 hours, because if it’s the same intensity, I’ll tell you, I don’t have it.
OBT: Yeah. Have you done a heavy, Brian?
Brian: I have. I’ve done one heavy. It was the 9th heavy class in Seattle and it was a number of years ago. They’ve definitely change since then, but they’re definitely different. They’re not just two challenges stuck on top of each other. That’s good.
Dredd: Maybe there’s hope. I always thought it would just be two challenges in a row, which —
OBT: Not really. No, thanks.
Brian: Yeah. It’s not like you get to the end of the first Tough and they say, “Alright. Time to turn around and repeat.”
OBT: “Hey, let’s have welcome party number two.” “No, I think I’m good. Thanks.” I want to just sort of throw a shout out to Jason McCarthy and Kit and Bomber and all the guys at GORUCK headquarters, because they have been just really awesome for us to work with on this stuff. Extremely — They get what we’re doing with F3 and have been very supportive of us really from day one. The synergy between the two groups, we got plenty of guys in F3 who have absolutely zero desire ever to put on a ruck on. They will tell you about it very vocally how they stupid they think it is. There a ton of us who have done one or more of these events who understand kind of the beauty of what goes on when you get guys together and push everybody to their limits and you hit bottom and kind of see what you’re made of. We’re got a term within F3. We have CSAUP events and CSAUP stands for completely stupid and utterly pointless.
Of course, the whole point of being completely stupid and utterly pointless is that actually there is a big point to it, which is you’re going out there and you’re doing stupid stuff together and you’re bonding and learning leadership skills, but we’ve really — Dave and I, I think, have found no better CSAUP events out there than the GORUCK challenges.
Brian: It’s nice. The GORUCK team, I’ve had Jason on the podcast. I’d have Kit on. I’ve recently interviewed Bomber, but that episode hasn’t released yet, and everyone over there is just very down to earth, very approachable, very nice people, very similar to you two.
OBT: It’s nice of you to say about us.
Brian: It just makes sense that your two organizations would work so well together.
OBT: I was having this conversation with Jason. I was down in Jacks Beach in July and dropped in to see them and the groups — And they had just brought Blayne in from RWB to be the president of GORUCK. The three very different groups engaged in kind of very different businesses, but with ultimately the same mission at heart, which is at the end of the day, getting people off their butts and getting them to do something and have an impact in the world. We love those guys.
OBT: Can I turn the tables on you real quick? One thing that I think might be helpful for your listeners, what did you perceive as different about kind of the way Danny led the challenge as well as having kind of that grow school component layered on to what was done during the challenge? Did you feel like that was a different GORUCK experience from the “traditional” GORUCK Tough?
Brian: I absolutely thought it was a different GORUCK experience. It was really cool how Grow Ruck school in the morning tied into the event. For those listening, as OBT mentioned, there’s a two hour course in the morning after the workout called Grow School where they teach you leadership skills and there’s some practical applications during it. Then there’s that nice break where you get to take a nap, or in my case, deal with a baby with colic for a number of hours before stepping out for the F3 custom Grow Ruck event.
OBT: Sorry, honey. Got to leave. Got to do this Grow Ruck. I hate to do it, but —
Brian: Yeah, their running joke for the weekend was that the Grow Ruck was easier than being home with the children. Between a three-month-old with colic and we have an almost three-and-half year old foster son. It’s pretty busy over here.
Anyway, stepped out for the Grow Ruck event, and it was different and that there’s a higher expectation of being able to perform leadership skills quickly and efficiently. It was really interesting to see how people were pulled out of the class and given leadership positions. As most people know, during normal GORUCK events, there’s a team leader generally chosen and then there’s an assistant team leader and they kind of just keep the group together, figure out where we’re going and make sure everything doesn’t fall apart.
At Grow Ruck, the team leader had three or four kind of assistant team leaders who came up and then they would disseminate the knowledge to their eight-person teams. We kind of had a nice hierarchy there. Just the way Danny taught through repetition, getting into our ranks and figuring that out was awesome. He definitely put a lot of pressure, I think, on the leaders, which is nice, because it is a GORUCK event, but it’s also a safe environment. If you fail getting your class together or getting into the proper PT formation right away, the worst thing that’s going to happen is some more PT. Which isn’t great, but it’s not a life or death situation. It’s not leadership at your job where it’s going to impact your potential performance or your family. There’s no better place to fail under pressure than a GORUCK or a Grow Ruck event.
The way that Danny kind of built that in to the class, it was really cool. I don’t know what your guys thoughts are no that.
Dredd: That’s why we love Danny. He really embraces the idea of improving — And improving is the wrong the word. Enhancing, I guess, would be better, because GORUCK — There’s one we did. Before we did the Grow Ruck, we did three. We talked about the first one and then at least I did two more, and I think Tim did two.
OBT: I did two.
Dredd: One we did, we call is sand rock. Tim, did you do sand rock?
OBT: Yeah, class 707.
Dredd: Sand rock was summer, maybe 2013 or 2014.
OBT: Yeah, August 2013.
Dredd: He’s got a better memory than I do. It was intensely hot, and we moved very fast, didn’t do a lot of leadership stuff. It was very physical. We did the worst logs I’ve ever seen, and it was incredibly physically tough. It was a big class too. It was —
OBT: It was two classes. There were 60 guys.
Dredd: It was two classes together, 60 guys, and maybe it was hard to do the leadership thing that night, but after that one I thought — Well, actually I didn’t do another one for about three years. Not that I didn’t like it or anything, I just thought. Well, I kind of reached the level of physicalness about it. That was probably one of the last ones we did here in Charlotte. That’s fun. I still got a lot out of it and think a lot of other guys did too, but it wasn’t a leadership experience as much as it was a resilience experience. How physically tough are you? How willing are you to preserve through intense pain? Very long welcome party. First movement in a riverbed for miles and miles.
OBT: We got in a sewage catch pond, a water processing plant.
Dredd: It’s nasty.
OBT: We threw sand on each other. We carried just the most monstrous log ever.
Dredd: Right. It was wonderful.
OBT: It was a total beat down.
Dredd: Now, Danny really takes it in a different direction. Doesn’t focus so much on the welcome party and just a physical beat down, but more on combining the mental challenges, the leadership challenges with physical fatigue. You don’t have to do that much to smoke guys, he does it. It’s less of a haze and more of an opportunity for you to learn leadership skills. He shares a lot of his leadership knowledge with guys and he knows a lot. I know guys really appreciate that, and he’s also, because he’s an F3 guy, has embraced what we’re trying to do with the Grow aspect of this.
What we hope is that if you go to the Grow school in the morning, that what you’ll see in the evening and overnight is Danny giving you a chance to take what you’ve heard and saw and put it in your hands and try to do it. The way he’s done that I think has just been wonderful. For us, that’s been a great experience. He’s evolved it I guess is the right way to put it.
OBT: Yeah. When we first came up with this idea, I think Sean Rankin was someone who said, “You got to get Danny to do this, because he totally gets what you’re trying to do.” We went down in Jacksonville, did that first one and it was just the perfect combination of beat down and learning experience. Lest anybody get the wrong idea, and when Dredd says not so focused on the welcome party — As you know, Brian, from being in the water in Puget Sound at 3 in the morning, there was still plenty of stuff to hate. It’s just different.
Dredd: It’s really two different approaches. I went to Ranger school, you got the world’s worst welcome party. It’s like first four days of welcome party. Then you go through Green Beret training, they’re the Special Forces qualification course. Nobody ever yelled at me. Nobody ever raised a voice at me, and I was smoked the whole time. I think it depends on the cadre that you catch, but I think the best ones do a great job of combining those two experiences and challenging you and getting you as close to what I’d like to think of as close as the bottom of yourself as they can get you.
What they get to realize, all great leaders do this, but nobody does it better than our young Green Beret and Ranger NCO, and that’s mostly who these guys are. Nobody does a better of job of showing you that if you think you’re going to do it along, then you’re not going to anything. That all you have is that very shallow reservoir of who you are. If you have a different attitude, if your attitude is that you’re going to see what you’re going to do as part of a team, then the limits of what could be accomplished are infinite.
You could preach that, and I guess I kind of just did, and write blog posts about it.
OBT: Which you just did.
Dredd: Which I just did. Well, I’m reciting what I wrote two days ago, or you’re going to live it out in 12 hours overnight and maybe a combination of those things is really what works, because the first part of if, it will write it on your brain, the second part of it is it will write it in your heart. That’s really what we’re after with this program is to as quickly as we can possibly do, take the things that we have learned in the first few years of F3. What we have seen work in the regions that are growing and are very impactful and then transfer those skills to a new region and take guys that maybe haven’t seen it and as quickly as possible show them what it looks like, so after we leave they can put it into action. That’s really why we started this thing. So far, we think it’s working. We see it working.
Brian: it was an incredible event and you could definitely see the tie between Grow School, Grow Ruck and how implementing everything you learned during Grow School in Grow Ruck cemented it for the future. I have to give you guys props for finding Cadre Danny to do this, because like you mentioned, he’s a very tactical cadre. He doesn’t yell a lot and he’s not screaming at you to do PT, but just the way that he uses these events to test your mind, I guess, is a good way to describe it. Every location that we ended up, we always had to do a gear check. We had to do a whole list of things after rucking a distance and doing PT and every fun thing that comes with a GORUCK event. You didn’t have a 10 second breather when you got to your next location. You had a whole list of things you had to go through. If you forgot something, you’re punished. He just set a really good job of building that.
Dredd: You’re right. You’re absolutely right.
Brian: I would definitely call Grow Ruck in Seattle a huge success. I’m very excited about eh future of these events and it’s really cool to hear the information behind how you plan out where these will be. You look at the F3 groups and when they’ve been planted after 18, 12 to 18 months, seeing where they’re at and then possibly doing the event out there. There’s a lot more behind it than I think a lot of people realize. Thanks for going in depth about that.
Brian: For those who are listening and go to the F3 nation site and possibly don’t see an F3 group within their area, what are their options?
OBT: First of all, we encourage you to go and check out the nifty map on the F3 site. If you pull the dropdown on where is F3, you should get to a nationwide map and you can put a zip code in there and it will tell you where the nearest workout is. If you do not have one near you, we would really, really like it if you would click on the link to send an email and ask to have F3 brought to your region, because it goes directly to a very good friend of ours who likes getting those emails and likes to have 50,000 different people ask for every workouts to come to him.
I sort of joke about that, but we are, as I said earlier, I think we’re in 21 or 22 states now. We’re kind of within site to where we can see getting to every major city in the country by 2019, 2020 arguably at our present pace. From there, it’s really a matter of those city groups then planting the regions around them. We used to sort of say when we get the email from kind of Nowheresville, Kansas, well, that’s great. We’d really love to bring you F3, but it’s going to be 2035 before we get there. Quite honestly at this point, the way the growth has been going, I think there’s a reasonable chance that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. We do want to know where you are and we want to be able to get in touch with you when there’s an opportunity to plant and get the culture right.
Brian: That’s awesome. Congratulations, guys.
OBT: Thank you.
Brian: I’ll just throw a side note in there. The map for F3 is really well done, so congratulations for whoever your web dev is.
OBT: That goes to Sleuth out there, to AP in Seattle and then Superman here in Charlotte. They are all over that and really nailed it.
Dredd: Every once in a while, I get frustrated with those guys and I want to fire them, but since we don’t pay them, it’s awkward.
OBT: It makes it a little awkward.
Dredd: What do you say?
Brian: It’s tough, right?
Dredd: Thousands of hours of work into something.
OBT: Wait? You’re firing me? But I’m a volunteer. That’s what makes it so hard.
Dredd: That’s what makes it so tough.
Brian: For those listening, it’s got all of the locations, and not only does it have the locations, but it has the dates that the workouts are on and the times. So you can easily see when there’s a Saturday morning workout in your area just based on the map colors and the location. It’s awesome and it’s super easy to use. I’ll post the links on the show notes.
OBT: One thing I will add to that too, Brian, is just so people know. This is not something where you got to have a sponsor to show up or you need to know somebody already or let them even know that you’re coming. We literally just show up at the location, be on time, because always start on time. If you show up, I can guarantee you — A guy said this to me recently and it really, really resonated with me, “F3 is one of the only places in the world where you can be a complete newbie, you can be at the back of the pack, a total — In the first percentile of performance out there, and you will be the most celebrated man out there, because there’s nothing out groups love more than to have an FNG, a friendly new guy out there get a chance to nickname him and bring him into the group.” I think sometimes guys are a little intimidating. You mean I just show up? Yeah, just show up and they will be glad to see you tell them that the podcast brought you there and they’ll probably tweet it out and let us know that as well.
Brian: Yeah. I guess I’ll just quickly toss in my input. When I showed up to my first F3 event I didn’t know anyone there. I was told to go there by Dora and Robber. For those who don’t Dora, is Lyle Peterson who runs the Pathfinder Ruck Training program. I’ve had him on the podcast and he just kept pestering me to go out to this and then between him and the F3 Grow Ruck account tweeting at me almost every day saying, “You’ve got to go out to these workouts.” I showed up and knew no one there and it doesn’t matter. Thank you to Robber and thank you to Dora, because without you two then I probably would not have found F3 as quickly as I did.
When it comes to F3 and rucking, I know there’s the F3 Grow Ruck Twitter account. I believe there’s a new F3 rucking account.
Dredd: It’s @f3nationruck.
Brian: Perfect. If you’re curious about the Grow Ruck events, you can easily hit F3 Grow Ruck up on Twitter. If you’re curious about rucking with the F3 crew in general, then F3 Nation Ruck.
Brian: They’re very responsive, because I’ve talked to them both quite a bit. Thank you OBT and Dredd just so much for taking this time out of your day to chat with me about the Grow Ruck event. This has been awesome. OBT, I know that you have another project that is near and dear to your heart called the Iron Project. Would you want to take a minute or two to talk about that?
OBT: Yeah. That actually could be relevant to some of your listeners as well. Dave, as a partner with me on this, I just happen to be the one who’s kind of working on it fulltime. The Iron Project is a side business that we started to take F3 and FiA leadership principles into other organizations. Dave and I did an event this morning with a group from a company that does IT infrastructure development and we did something very similar to a Grow School where we ran a workout with them that was mainly focused on teaching and introducing some leadership principles and did kind of a two-and-half hour Grow School in the classroom with them. This is something we’re always interested in doing.
We would love to find a corporation that wants to do that and then add a GORUCK Light challenge on to it as well, because I think that basically having an in-house Grow Ruck in a corporate setting could be a really pretty amazing team building experience. Having shadowed a couple of the lights, I’ve got a sense for being a little bit more — A little less confrontational of the people on the physical front than your typical Tough challenge.
Anybody who is involved in the rucking community who happens to be listening and wants to find a way to kind of bring it into your company from a leadership perspective, from using this as a platform for talking about leadership, we would love to have that conversation. Our website is at theironproject.com and the general email address for inquiries is email@example.com, and I would love to field any and all inquiries and pretty much everything we do is completely customized to the client and to the ends that they’re trying to achieve.
Brian: Awesome. For anyone listening, if you think the leadership training, your place of business sucks and you want to bring in something better, like a Grow School plus GORUCK Light event, because we all know, we’re all ruckers, that a GORUCK Light event is a great way to build leadership. Hit up the Iron Project and maybe just send them a message to see how you can present the idea to someone who could make a decision like that.
OBT: We promise no Power Point presentations.
Brian: If I could trade the next five Power Point presentations for a GORUCK event, I would in a heartbeat.
Thank you guys so much, taking the time. It’s been an absolute pleasure. For anyone listening, I’ll put all the links to absolutely everything we talked about in the show notes as well as links to how to contact OBT and Dredd about the Iron Project. I believe that there’s a really good F3 dictionary out there, because you probably heard some terms during this that might not have made a whole lot of sense, so you can use that, pull it up and figure out what they’re saying. Thank you guys, again, and have a wonderful rest of your day.
OBT: Thank you, Brian.
Dredd: Yeah, we appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.